Friday, November 10, 2017

Preach the Word!

THE SUPREMACY OF THE PREACHING IN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST
2 Timothy 4:1-2:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

Faithful preaching of the gospel is the method that God has given His church to dispense the riches of His grace to the world. The power and authority of the church is in the preaching of God’s Word!
Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit stated so unequivocally, that he was not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom.1:16, emphasis mine). He gave at least two important reasons:
(1)     in it the righteousness of God is revealed and
(2)     in it the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Rom.1:17).
For the same reasons, I write to exhort you to take back your pulpit to the centre of public worship because there is eternal good to be gained – the righteousness of God, but also to escape the wrath of God! Therefore, he was called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, and he was eager to preach the gospel to all (Rom.1:1,15). Preachers, you must not be ashamed of the gospel by turning to the man-centred ‘gospels’ like philosophy, or ear-tickling business, rather be eager to preach the gospel to all and sundry every time.
Human beings are busy supressing the truth of God by their thoughts, words and actions. Introduce them to God by the message of the gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. When there is a failure by the church on this point, the only door of hope for sinners is shut, and the shackles of sin are tightened. This is the backdrop upon which the passage before us is written.
Therefore,
1.        Here is a the most serious charge to preach the Word (v.1)
This is a  most explicitly solemn and divine charge. You notice it is given before God the Father and in the presence of Christ the great and eternal Judge. God’s all-seeing eye is keen to see if His Word is being preached faithfully. All this accumulation of words in the statement is meant to show the full intensity of this instruction. This is not something that we can ignore or forget. It must be remembered and obeyed by all at all cost for God will require an account. It is a serious charge, given by the Sovereign King of kings.
This is a perpetual charge. Timothy, you and I, are to bear in mind that this will be required by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Judge. For this reason, Paul mentions Christ’s second appearing and His kingdom. As long as we await this world changing event of the second coming of Christ, as long as we are part of the commonwealth of the kingdom of Christ, as long as Christ is our delight, we have both His mandate and a responsibility to sinners to make Christ known. It is a serious charge with eternal ramifications.
Paul charges that Jesus Christ will judge both the living and the dead. Why is Paul saying this? To make Timothy and us be sure that we will give an account before Christ on whether we sounded the gospel trumpet clearly, as faithful watchmen or not. If we persist in this, we will save both ourselves and our hearers (1Tim. 4:16) It is a serious charge for we will be held accountable by Christ in so far as our faithfulness is concerned.
2.        Here is the most forthright charge to preach the Word
… preach the word…(v.2a) The Apostle does not mince the words given to Him by the Master, and in so doing sets an excellent example. He directs Timothy to preach. He is to declare and proclaim the message as one who has divine authority.
The word preach here means is to be an ‘herald’, one who has been given both the message and the commission of the Sovereign King, to speak on His behalf, marching forth without delay, with the unaltered message. In this charge authority, faithfulness and urgency are urged. These constitute what it means to be a herald. The work of a preacher of the gospel is not an indifferent thing; it is absolutely important and necessary with the mandate of the King of kings. Woe be to him who does not preach the gospel, (1Cor. 9:16). The redeemed church of Christ is urged to carry on with this immediate commission – preach the word!
The church is not charged to sing the word, or dramatize or do social gospel. If this is what the Lord expects of us, He would have instructed us. While philanthropic activities have their place, they must not be the central business of the church. The church must, as of first importance, deliver the message of the gospel across the world, not by singing or dramatizing or modelling, but by preaching. It is possible to have singing, music and all the rest of them mistaken for entertainment. Don’t turn the gospel call into a lullaby to put the unbelieving world to sleep! The faithful preaching of the gospel cannot be mistaken by the world because it is the very equipment that the Holy Spirit uses to open the eyes, minds and hearts of the spiritually dead sinners. The Spirit administers the gospel as the sole medicine to the dead sinner. Unless we use the sovereignly appointed tool of preaching the gospel, we have nothing to give that has eternal value.
History shows that there is a great need for every true church of Christ to deliberately make preaching the centre of worship. Students of history know of the effects of the Reformation and Puritan preaching in the 16th and 17th Centuries. The Great Awakening of 18th Century, humanly speaking, could be attributed to the preaching of George Whitfield, John Wesley and Jonathan Edwards and other faithful preachers. C. H. Spurgeon was such a preacher and God blessed his labours in London. The same is true of men like J.C. Ryle in Liverpool, and Martyn Lloyd Jones in London. Can we do less, if we pray for the salvation of souls?
If preaching is not highly valued, then churches greatly risk falling off the cliff. There are too many examples of churches that have made preaching secondary – please do not add to their number! They regard singing so highly that their choirs are heard practising within the week but only give twenty minutes to the preaching (which their minister has barely prepared!) They would buy wonderful roses to decorate their halls but would not spare thirty minutes to hear gospel-centric, Christ-saturated Word!
In the Roman Catholic Church, the Lord’s Table was elevated too high that it became the apex of their worship, to a point that they confused the elements of the Eucharist with Christ! In most Kenyan churches music is the main thing (considering the amount of time allocated in their worship service, practicing, the amount of financial investment on buying instruments or paying workers and the number of music personnel). This is not meant to question the sincerity of worship leaders. Rather it is meant to bring a redress in this vital area of church life. This ‘worship’ sooner rather than later becomes an entertainment muddle. When the Lord Jesus, through Apostle Paul, says, “Preach the word”, He is instructing us to push the pulpit to the centre of the church life and of worship. Nothing is more important! Woe to the church that does not preach the gospel!

3.        Here are the most clear instructions on how to preach the word
… be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching (v.2b).
It behoves both ministers and the church, to seriously consider the account that they must give shortly to the Lord Jesus Christ, of the good news entrusted them. The church, by her ministers, is called to press all God’s message with all earnestness upon this world. Preach the whole Bible – Genesis to Revelation, verse by verse – precept upon precept, line upon line, until the whole counsel of God is given. Do not withhold anything profitable by either adding (and so obscuring the gospel) or subtracting (by preaching what you like). Yes, exegetical accuracy is absolutely necessary. Be sure you have the right hermeneutic tools before venturing up the pulpit. This is what it means to be faithful – to be a consecutive expositor of the whole counsel of God.
When are you to preach the gospel?
The call is to be ready in season and out of season. The gospel never runs out of season. The gospel, as long as it is preached will be fruitful. We must never be tired of proclaiming it for the it is the only medicine for a terminally ill world. We desire that there would be more churches open for ‘morning glory’ where there is preaching and prayer. We pray that more churches would open their doors for lunch-hour meetings where men and women are exhorted to be under the wings of Christ. O that the Lord may kindle a desire for preaching every night and that preachers would be untired of preaching the excellences of Christ!
What is the content of the preaching?
Christ and Him crucified is the content of preaching. But there is no relevance of Christ where sin is not singled out and rebuked. Therefore, Paul impresses on preachers very specific actions of reproving, rebuking, and exhorting with all fervency of spirit. Specifically, the message is to call on their hearers to be aware of sin, to repent of it t Christ. It is to exhort them to behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. It is to encourage sinners to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their only of hope. Sin must be purged from the midst of God’s people. And how is this to be done? By rebuking it. Rebuke those who sin and persist in it. They are to be rebuked and admonished for their waywardness and to be pointed to Christ.
How are the preachers to do this?
The preachers are to do this with complete patience – do not demand immediate result. Much patience is necessary with all. Paul demonstrates this when he says, “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the faith-hearted, help the weak, be patient with them all (1 Thess. 5:14). There is a clear call to be patient with people because some are slow of understanding, but because the work of conviction of sin belongs to the Holy Spirit.
Good preaching demands sermons that are well structured and vividly illustrated. Every sermon ought to reach every ear present and this requires pointed application. Complete teaching demands a well-balanced doctrinal diet or in other words, every sermon must be saturated with doctrinal substance.
In and out of season means that it is to be given when welcome and even when unwelcome. There was no invitation letter from the Assyrian king inviting Jonah to preach in Nineveh, but there was the word from God. Usually sinners are not going to invite us to preach to them, although there are times when special events occur, e.g. deaths and weddings! When they come calling you for these events, milk these opportunities to the last drop.
Many are the times when we have to press the message upon them. We have to acknowledge that the world is too chained, blinded and stifled by devil’s deception to call out for help. It is for this reason that we should not sugar-coat the gospel with any worldly glaze. We must not make things comfortable for them; rather, our call is to preach pure and unadulterated Word of God. Moreover, let us not slip any opportunity. Do not shift off the duty, under pretence that it is out of season, it is a serious message that must not be delayed.
It is a direct message of “reproving, rebuking…” – tell people of their faults with gravity and authority, in Christ's name. “Exhorting…” – Convince wicked people of the evil and danger of their wicked courses. Endeavour in teaching, by speaking simply but profoundly; directly but wisely; urgently but patiently, in order to bring them to repentance. Do not leave them in ignorance, rather instruct them so that they may be made wise for salvation.
In conclusion, you have read the most serious, forthright and clear instructions on what is to be done in the church of Christ.
v  If you are a pastor, labour in preaching, because your duty and business is to preach – do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
v  If you are Christian, let the word of God dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom. But if you find yourself in a church that is malnourished of God’s Word – leave it before you starve to death. Look for a church that is deliberate in the faithful and expository preaching of the God’s Word.

v  Every true church of Christ must endeavour to have the pulpit at the centre – therein lies your authority and the power. The church is the beautiful bride of Christ when it is ‘bibline’ that is, speaking the language of the Groom as in His Word.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Jesus, our Saviour


Mark 14:53-65             
And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, "We heard him say, 'I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.'" Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, "Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?" But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" And Jesus said, "I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." And the high priest tore his garments and said, "What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?" And they all condemned him as deserving death. And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, "Prophesy!" And the guards received him with blows.
It is absolutely important that we know our Saviour. The passage before us identifies Jesus positively as the sinless Christ the Son of the Blessed (v.61). He identified Himself as the Son of Man (v. 62). This is important, to know if indeed ours is the true salvation, based on firm Scriptural evidence. Unless this is known for sure, we risk neglecting such a great salvation. The identity of Jesus is of uttermost importance to us. This passage reveals it so clearly – The question of Caiphas to Jesus is the hinge upon which we hang today’s message, for the answer that Jesus gave revealed His identity than ever before. In one instance He bared His identity to the Sanhedrin in the way He had never done, leaving no doubt who He is - "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" And Jesus said, "I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven."
What is described here is the first trial of Jesus by the religious council, called the Sanhedrin. Remember that this took place after the preliminary interrogation by Annas, the recently retired high priest. So when he was arrested at Gethsemane, He was first of all taken to the house of Annas, and then at least 23 of the 70 members of the Sanhedrin were assembled at the house of Caiaphas, the high priest and son-in-law of Annas.
The whole council (v.55) must not be taken literally since we know that a few members of the Sanhedrin were absent, like Joseph of Arimathea and possibly Nicodemus. Mark’s intention is to indicate clearly that the court met in plenary session. According to the Mishnah the presence of 23 members constituted the quorum.[1]
1.     Jesus is sinless
The first thing we notice in these verses is the fact that the Lord Jesus, was unspotted, unblemished, and blameless. Attempts were made to obtain evidence against him, witnesses were obtained and coached in order that they may fix this Galilean for once and for all, to put him to death, but they found none (v.55). While in this verse their evil intention of killing Jesus is unveiled, yet, the most remarkable thing is that they did not found him culpable of any of the charges that they had levelled against. These men knew that they did not find any reason to sentence Him to death.
Furthermore, when the witnesses were produced, the quality of their testimony was wanting. For all those who bore witness against Him, only bore false witness (v. 57). For this reason, their testimony did not agree (v.56). Even when the charge of the statement of Jesus which they quoted (v.58) that Jesus had said, 'I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.'" Yet even about this their testimony did not agree (vv.58-59). Mark highlights this because we all know that once the testimony of the witness fails the corroboration factor, then it has to be dismissed. The statement about the temple may have had some truth, but as soon as witnesses fail to agree, the witness is impaired and this is the point Mark is making here. Consequently, the chief priests, the elders and the scribes were responsible and blameworthy in the matter of the death of Jesus. Jesus had said as much in Matthew 23:29-36
Actually, the truth about the temple statement is that Jesus had answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."  John 2:19. Clearly He did not say that He will personally destroy any temple, rather that He will raise it up in three days, and so there is no criminal activity in this accusation – unless He had indeed said that He would destroy the property (this is a civil suit). If they could prove his guilty on this matter, then the Romans could take it up, for the Sanhedrin had no legal mandate to trial a civil suit. But we see that even about this, there was no agreement in the witness.
The other important aspect of Jesus highlighted in this passage is that He did not answer them. Since these were fabricated stories, the Lord did not see any point in responding to them, proving His innocence before men, and demonstrating His passive obedience to the Father!
This silence enraged the high priest who stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make?” But He remained silent and made no answer (vv.60-61). In His silence, He gave an answer that they were too deaf to hear –
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. Isa 53:7.
And again,
He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 1Peter 2:22-23. And again, the earthly high priest put on trial the heavenly and eternal great High Priest. But we know,
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15.
The fact that the Lord did not have any sin is absolutely necessary, for the lamb sacrificed for the sins of people had to be a male without blemish, unspotted, and undefiled. Remember that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, and so He has cleansed us from our sins by His precious blood, like that of a Lamb without blemish or spot (1 Peter 1:19). For this reason, the sacrifice being prepared is acceptable by God, and it is effective for cleaning the sins of the people.
For the absolutely sinless One to be subjected to a trial conducted by sinful men was itself a deep humiliation. To be tried by such men, under such circumstances made it infinitely worse… the entire trial was a farce, a mis-trial[2]. Notice how illegal this trial was:
1)      They bribed Judas to betray Him (vv. 10-11)
2)      It was conducted at night (v.17)
3)      Outside the temple (vv.53, 54)
4)      It was on the eve of the Passover against the regulations
5)      Bribed the witnesses to bear false witness (vv. 56-59)
6)      They demanded Jesus to incriminate Himself (v. 60)
7)      The sentence was pronounced before conviction (v.64)
To cover up this, they stamped the papers and so endorsed the decision of the night in the morning, for public relations.
Because the sinless Saviour died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
2.     Jesus is the Christ
Caiphas’ question was, "Are you the Christ…? This was going to be the most decisive question of the day since all the other tactics had miscarried. Obviously, the question is suggestive. It was a leading question. This was such an important matter that, the high priest put Jesus under oath (Matt. 26:63). And Jesus’ response was as clear as the noonday. For without any hesitation, Mark records, “And Jesus said, "I am..." The point is made since Jesus admitted that He is the Christ. This was incredible in the eyes of the council, but it was a sufficient evidence against Him.
The long awaited Messiah is here, before their eyes. He is a man, that they had well known, or so they thought. He is a man who in every way, according to them, is a ‘weakling and helpless’. The sort of a Messiah that they were expecting, and that they thought they needed, was in every way unlike the man before them. According to them, Jesus was taking them for a ride and they would not accept it. For they wanted a conquering Lion of Judah, who would overturn the Roman rule and establish a political kingdom of God and rule from Jerusalem. But they did not realize that the Messiah was first to come as the sin-atoning Lamb, in order to bring them salvation. Since the warrior and the champion was not before them, they rejected Jesus Christ, He became their stumbling block and they rejected the very stone that was the capstone.
As soon as Jesus said, "I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." This utterance in the eyes of the chief priest was tantamount to blasphemy and a clear indication that He was to be sentenced to death. The Lord admitted to be the Son of God in the highest exalted sense. Actually, He had claimed divine prerogatives and so He was either guilty of blasphemy or He was speaking the truth – but nothing was done to establish what is the truth. This is what C.S. Lewis has called trilemma – Jesus was either a lunatic, a liar or the Lord. But we all know without any shred of doubt that He is the Lord.
But Jesus is not the Christ because He was declared by some ecclesiastical council or authority. He is the Christ because God appointed Him and after all, His ministry had proved the point for those who are interested to see. For this reason, when the time came to declare His identity, He did no hide it, but spoke clearly, boldly without no reservation or hesitation. They may have condemned Him to death illegally, or said that He deserved death, spit on Him, blindfolded Him, struck Him, yet all these served the eternal cause of proving that this is indeed the Suffering Servant of the Lord. No amount of mockery, contempt or blows from the temple guards could reverse the fact that Jesus is the Christ.
That Son of man who at the moment, before the eyes of the Sanhedrin appeared so mean and despicable and so that they trampled upon him, spit on Him and rained blows on Him. But He would soon be seen appearing in majesty. Of course His present appearance did not have any resemblance to what He talked about, for at the time he was under the worst of humiliation. He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised and we esteemed Him not (Isa. 53:2b-3). But we know that through the thickest cloud of his humiliation some rays of glory were still darted forth. But these chief priests were so miserably blinded with malice and rage, that, like the horse rushing into the battle, they mocked at fear, and were not affrighted, neither believed they that it was the sound of the trumpet of His coming in judgment.[3]
3.     Jesus Is the Son of God
The Lord answered the question asked by Caiphas, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" And Jesus said, "I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." In this answer, He was saying, I am both the Christ and the Christ, being both fully God’s Son and fully Son of Man.
It interesting to note that when the high priest heard the response of Jesus he tore his clothes in supposed mourning, as a public show, while deep within it was in celebration now that he had found a handle to execute his venom on the Son of God. It was a sign of official detestation and abhorrence at the blasphemy supposed to have been uttered.[4] For this reason, in his opinion there was no need for further witness – He had self-condemned Himself! His malicious venom was unveiled to all and sundry. And this is what we see even now – there are many who would not have Christ because they don’t see the glory of the Blessed. Yet He is our Great God and Saviour (Titus 2:13)
But you wonder, why was the statement of Christ blasphemous before the high priest? The statement of Jesus was a blasphemy because He had said that He is, ‘the Son of the Blessed’ (v.61) and had claimed powers that only God possess – only God according to them could come with the clouds of heaven. (v.62)
What proof did Jesus produce that He is indeed the Son of God? He gave a double proof:
a)      He will be seated at the right hand of Power, meaning that He will occupy the most exalted place. The throne of God, is His. Notice how He spoke like a typical Jew, circumventing to mention the Name of God, something that was forbidden by the Jews. He instead called God, ‘Power’ just as the high priest had earlier on called God, ‘the Blessed’.
b)      He will come a second time with the clouds of heaven. Who else can do this? Only God is capable of coming to judge universally with all the sovereign power and with the clouds of heaven (His dwelling place). Therefore the Lord had given them sufficient reasons for the charge of blasphemy if it was not true.
While this eternal reality did not dawn on them, they nonetheless went on to abuse and make sport of our Saviour in the same manner, if not worse, the Philistines mocked Samson, to their own destruction.
He had both a confession and a stern warning for them. In this response, the Lord alluded to three OT Messianic passages in order to demonstrate to them that He was coming as the Judge of all the earth – Isaiah 52:8;  Psalm 110:1; Daniel 7:13. While they were now in a state of glee judging Him, tables would soon be overturned and they would be before Him as the Judge! Jesus is no doubt coming back to establish His kingdom that cannot be shaken, there are those who are in it now. But those who have continued to mock Him, and scoff at His second coming, as Peter records in 2 Peter 3:3-9.
Applications
1.      Here we learn humility as the attitude of facing suffering. The Lord, the glorious Lord, did not gloat over His position. He did not insist on His own way. Instead, in humility He agreed to be humbled, to become like a lamb, to come on earth and to face wrath of God, so that He might bring us to salvation.Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”. Php 2:5-8.
2.      We must never think that pressure from persecution or suffering is a reason for sinning. The Lord did not threaten or revile or even contemplate retaliation. For we read, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1Pe 2:21-24.
3.      There is no doubt that Christ is coming back, not as a Lamb but as a roaring conquering Lion of Judah. He is coming to establish His eternal Kingdom. Are you prepared to meet Him? Are you ready for His appearing? You can only be ready, if you will be found in Him, not having a righteousness of your own that comes by the law, but the righteousness that comes through and by faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.
4.      Since Jesus is the Christ, and the Son of God then you must believe Him, thank Him, worship Him. It is not for nothing that you are hearing this message – it is so that you will not fall into the same pitfall as the Jews who rejected their hope. You who is an unbeliever, you have heard this so that you may know Christ, the Saviour of sinners. You who has been redeemed from your sins and from the wrath to come, you should be profusely thankful and grateful. You are to live in a manner that offers worship to Him. Like Thomas when He learnt that Jesus is the Christ, we are to cry, “MY LORD, AND MY GOD!”




[1] William Lane, quoting from M. Wolff, ICNT, The Gospel of Mark, Eedermans, Grand Rapids Mich. 1979, p. 531
[2] W. Hendricksen, p. 607
[3] Matthew Henry
[4] Alexander, The Gospel of Mark, p.408

Thursday, October 19, 2017

What is the Work of Christ?

What is the Work of Christ?

Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?

The Answer is, The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was and continues to be God and man, in two distinct natures and one person for ever. This is the teaching of the Bible in the following verses:
ü  1 Timothy 2:5,6;
ü  John 1:14;
ü  Galatians 4:4;

ü  Romans 9:5;
ü  Luke 1:35;
ü  Colossians 2:9;
ü  Hebrews 7:24,25
*******************

What is the Work of Christ?

The Lord Jesus Christ, by His perfect obedience and sacrifice of Himself, which He through the eternal Spirit once offered up to God, has fully satisfied the justice of God, procured reconciliation, and purchased an everlasting inheritance in the Kingdom of heaven for all those whom the Father has given unto Him.

What offices does Christ execute as our Redeemer?’

The Answer is, Christ as our Redeemer executes the offices of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king, both in His state of humiliation and exaltation.
This is the teaching of the Bible in the following verses:
ü  Acts 3:22;
ü  Hebrews 12:25;
ü  2 Corinthians 13:3;
ü  Hebrews 5:5-7;
ü  Psalm 2:6;
ü  Isaiah 9:6,7
ü  Matthew 21:5;
ü  Psalm 2:8-11
From these verses we have three questions:

1.     How does Christ execute the office of a prophet?

Answer.  Christ executes the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, by His Word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.
ü  John 1:18;
ü  2 Peter 1:10-12;
ü  John 15:15 and
ü  John 20:31
Christ’s PROPHETIC office is necessary for us because of our ignorance of God, of His creation, of ourselves and of the way of salvation. General revelation is not a sufficient medium of educating a fallen being in spiritual things. This is because the Fall impaired our mental and spiritual faculties so that we are unable to naturally know God. Only the gospel is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes.
A prophet is one who brings God’s words to men, i.e. prophets are men who speak from God (2 Peter 1:21) to men. All the writers of Scripture are prophets, hence they constantly cried, “Thus says the Lord.” Unless one speaks directly from God, he has no business claiming this prophetic office.
Christ is our great Prophet, to whom all other prophets point. Read Deuteronomy 18:15,18, Acts 3:22-26, Hebrews 1:1-2. He perfectly fulfilled and continues to fulfil the office of the prophet. All the other prophets were shadows the reality and the full realization of the prophetic office is in Christ. When Christ came, He fully fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy, but more than that He was the ultimate prophet.
Christ not only brings God’s words to us, He Himself is a revelation of who God is (John 1:18, 14:7-9). In Christ’s day there was the expectation that this great Prophet would come, as prophesied by Moses in Deuteronomy 18 (John 1:21, 6:14, 7:40). At the Day of Pentecost, Peter said that the ultimate Prophet had already come in the Person of Christ. All the prophets were inspired by the Spirit of Christ (1 Peter 1:10-11) so that all the Scriptures can be regarded as the revelation of God through Christ Himself. Without such revelation we could know nothing about the way of salvation for we are in the darkness of ignorance by nature (see Jeremiah 17:9, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Ephesians 4:17-18).

2.     How does Christ execute the office of a priest?

 Answer.  Christ executes the office of a priest, in His once offering up Himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and to reconcile us to God, and in making continual intercession for us.
ü  Hebrews 9:14, 28
ü  Hebrews 2:17
ü  Hebrews 7:24,25
Christ’s PRIESTLY office is necessary for us because sin alienated us from God and rendered us imperfect in the best of our services. The best things we do as Christians are unacceptable except through Christ and the cleansing of His blood. His priestly office is necessary because we are sinners.
A priest is one who represents men before God in order to bring reconciliation and peace. Hebrews is the book of the Bible that refers much to Christ as our Priest (see chapters 4:14 – 10:18, and especially the summary statement of 8:1). The priests of the Old Testament pointed forward to Christ as our great High-priest since they failed, being themselves sinners. They had the work of sacrifice for sin and intercession for the people of God, just as Christ has (5:1-3, 7:25, 10:12).
Christ is the Priest in that He is both the Priest and the Sacrifice. He is the spotless, unblemished and acceptable Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He is the great High Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death by death from continuing in office, but He holds His priesthood permanently, because He continues for ever (Heb. 7:23-24). He is both the temple and the atonement providing a perfect propitiation for our sins.
God’s elect can only be reconciled to God through the priestly work of Christ (Hebrews 2:17-18). Those who are saved continue to need His priestly work because of sin. After His once for all atonement, He entered permanently into the heavenly tabernacle and sat at God’s right hand where He for ever lives to intercede for us.

3.     How does Christ execute the office of a king?

Answer.  Christ executes the office of a king, in subduing us to Himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all His and our enemies.
ü  Acts 15:14-16
ü  Isaiah 33:22;
ü  Isaiah 32:1,2
ü  1 Corinthians 15:25;
ü  Psalm 110
Christ’s KINGLY office is necessary for us because of our averseness and utter inability to return to God. Being dead in sin needs the King who would and could rescue us and secure us from our spiritual adversaries and bring us to God. A king both rules and defends his people.
The kings of the Old Testament pointed forward to the coming King, the Lord Jesus. David and Solomon specifically point forward to Christ as shown in Psalms 2 and 72. Christ sits on the throne of David (Luke 1:32-33, Acts 2:33-36, see also Matthew 2:2, 21:5, 27:11,37, John 1:49, Acts 17:7, Revelation 17:14).
Remember that the kingdom of God came with the coming of Christ (Matthew 12:28, John 18:36). It has now been established both on earth and in heaven and it awaits its fully inauguration when Christ comes the last time.
Why do we need a king?
1)      We need Christ’s kingly office so that by His power He might bring us back to God. Never forget that our conversion is a work of Christ’s power by,
a)      paying the penalty for our sins by His atoning sacrifice rescuing us from the wrath of God,
b)      giving His perfect righteousness acceptable to God and so satisfying the demands of God’s law and justice,
c)      giving us His Holy Spirit who applies His work of redemption by enabling us to believe and repent.
2)      We need His kingly office to be protected from our spiritual adversaries, the world, the flesh and the devil. He is able to do this because He is “head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22). Here is the guarantee that we shall be kept “until we finally enter His heavenly kingdom”.

Conclusion:
·         We must never underrate sin. You who think of your sins lightly should mark the sacrifice appointed for atoning sin and see who bears the awful load – It is the Word, the Lord’s anointed Son of God and Son of Mary. This should help us to loathe sin, and kill it and love holiness, and live righteously.
·         A study of Christ’s Person and work as mediator ought to make us to praise Him for His grace. Who could have expected Him to do such things for we who are so unworthy? Who can calculate what it cost Him to become man and to suffer on the cross for us? Who can measure the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:18-19)?

·         At the same time it ought to give us comfort. As mediator, Christ has done everything from beginning to end that we sinners need. We know the will of God for our complete salvation. We have a sacrifice that cleanses us from all sin. We have a Lord who will keep us to the end. May the Lord help us always to look to Christ and to depend on Him.